The information, which was published in the Los Angeles Times on March 9 about the possible low-capacity nuclear strike on several countries, including Russia, has become a very controversial issue. “The USA is getting ready for the nuclear war” – this is what the Russian headlines say on the subject. However, it goes about something totally different: the USA is getting ready for the totally new world order, which is a lot worse for Russia.
What is really new in the message that America could use the nuclear weapon of low capacity in the military theatre of East Europe? Leonid Brezhnev and Margaret Thatcher could talk about it too back in the time, when they were at power. Everybody, who studied the regulations of the armed forces, knows what to do in case of a nuclear attack: to hold a Kalashnikov stretching your arms in front of you in order not to allow the melted metal to drop on your boots. The new factor here is that Russia and China were listed as the countries, which did not have the nuclear potential of their own. In other words – it is not dangerous to use the nuclear weapons against those countries.
Needless to mention that any kind of the nuclear strike against our country will lead to a very powerful retaliation of Russia’s Strategic nuclear force. No one would look into the question if the nuclear attack was of low capacity or not. This is actually the ground of the security system of the world, which has been based on the possibility for the nuclear super-powers to destroy each other together with the entire humanity.
What are they actually talking about, when they say “nuclear weapon of low capacity?” As far as the USA is concerned in this respect - the American officials mean the Tomahawk cruise missiles, first and foremost. These missiles can carry one warhead with the nuclear charge of not more than 600 kilotons, which is an excessive figure for the use in the military theatre. Twenty kilotons and even less than that is fairly enough for destroying the secret command posts, communication centers and people of the enemy. The US army also has the aircraft bombs at its disposal, the bombs, which have accent laser lighting of a target. These bombs can be used not on the bomber planes only but also on F-16 fighter jets. But today it is more about the psychological factor of war – even a possibility to use this kind of weapon can paralyze the will of the potential enemy that does not have the opportunities for a nuclear strike in return.
The information, which was published in the Los Angeles Times is most likely another way to show the psychological and political pressure on the potential enemy. But it is much more interesting that Russia and China were put on the list of the possible targets, in spite of the fact that both Russia and China have the nuclear arsenals.
One may say that Russia does not have the tactical nuclear arms anymore – they are being processed and utilized now. The entire nuclear power of our country is concentrated in the Strategic nuclear force, the total power of which makes up over four thousand nuclear charges. Specialists say that the attack of ten hits on such a possible enemy as the USA will be enough to cause the huge damage, so one may assume that the power of the Russian Strategic nuclear force is more than enough. So far.
The Russian Strategic nuclear force consists of the strategic aviation, the nuclear subs and, most importantly, the missile troops of the strategic purpose. There are two kinds of the battle planes, which can carry the nuclear weapon: one of them is TU-95MS turbo-prop aircraft that is capable of carrying four cruise missiles. However, both the planes and the missiles have become obsolete, they are about to be through with their guarantee resources.
There are also over 20 up-to-date TU-160 aircraft, each of them is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles, but there is a problem with the production of those missiles. In addition to that, many of them are out of order and can not be used.
The situation with the military duty leaves much to be desired. There is a deficit of fuel, and everyone has forgotten about the constant military duty. The crews are not in the cockpits, they are in the sober and clean-shaven state, but near their planes. The ongoing degradation of the missile attack caution system makes these efforts become a simple ritual: if there is an attack, then 100% of our strategic bombers will be destroyed on the airbases.
Since we do not consider the variant of our country to have the nuclear attack first, then one may say that the aviation constituent of our Strategic nuclear force can be considered as non-existent. Even if a miracle happens, and one of our TU-160 jets takes off and reaches a missile-launching point (not more than 1.5 kilometers far from the USA’s cost), then its incomplete set of cruise missiles will most likely be intercepted by the anti-missile defense of the enemy. Five or ten years later, when the USA are through with the re-equipment of their army, the chances of our bomber planes will be restricted with their technical state and the level of obsolescence.
The Russian nuclear submarines pose a threat, which is way more serious: some fifteen missile submarines. The Typhoon submarines are capable of carrying twenty missiles on board. Each of those missiles have a separating heads, and each of those heads have ten warheads. Russia is formally armed with six submarines like that, but there are at least four of them that operate, and at least one of them is on duty. The rest of them can launch their missiles without going into the sea, but they all can be quickly destroyed for the mentioned reason. However, even one sub can win the nuclear war, having launched 200 nuclear charges.
But what will happen with the permanently fading navy in five or ten years? There are seven Delta-4 subs that can carry 16 SS-N-23 missiles with separating heads, with four warheads each, but their gradual obsolesce is the issue of a closer perspective.
There are 14 Delta-3 subs for the time being, which can carry 16 SS-N-18 missiles, but in ten years there can be nothing left from these subs. The missile troops of the strategic purpose are the main constituent of the Russian Strategic nuclear force. There are 154 inter-continental SS-18 (Satana) ballistic missiles of about 1500 nuclear charges. This is enough to destroy all possible and impossible enemies. They will be on the military duty for five or ten years more, until START-2 treaty comes into effect, but then their resources will be exhausted. There are also 150 SS-19 ballistic missiles (some 900 warheads), but their resources are calculated for the period of ten years. There are also about 40 SS-25 ballistic missiles (railway basing), but they will be useless in five or ten years as well. Furthermore, one of the presidents made a decision, according to which these missiles are not mobile anymore. They are situated on the bases, the location of which is very well known to a possible enemy. Three hundred and sixty mobile Topol missiles will also have their resources exhausted in five or ten years.
There is an up-to-date, purely Russian missile Topol-M, the resource of which is meant for the period of more than 20 years. But there have been only 30 of them manufactured so far, and it is a monoblock missile. President Putin said once that there could be separating heads installed on Topol-M missiles, but it would be three warheads only, not ten, like on SS-18.
If Ilya Klebanov, the former vice premier, said that Russia had produced six Topol-M missiles in 2001, then we will be having not more than 100 monoblock ballistic missiles by the year of 2012, when Russia’s entire Strategic nuclear force is out of date and order. If they are equipped with separating heads, then there will be 300 nuclear charges in total, which is 15 times as less than nowadays.
It is worth saying that the USA will most likely have a different ABM system by the year 2012, for the system that America is working on now, has been criticized a lot. Indeed, even if the system is 90% efficient, 400 warheads will reach their targets anyway, and this is more than enough to cause the unacceptable damage to the States. Furthermore, even if Russia possesses two or three hundreds of nuclear charges by 2012, then the 90% efficiency of the ABM system will not save America from the inadmissible damage.
There should be 200-300 nuclear charges left after the first attack of the possible enemy, which is not less than 100 missiles. Alas, Russia should have not less than 1000 warheads by the year 2012 to feel calm – 300 Topol-M missiles.
Votkinsky Zavod is the only enterprise in Russia, which deals with the production of the ballistic missiles. The information, which said that the management of the factory was controlled by some local mafia, was exaggerated. I know the managers of this company in person, and I can be rather ironic about their “links” with mafia.
The designer of Topol-M missile, Yury Solomonov said at the meeting with the deputies of the Russian parliament that the production of those missiles was funded on the level of 18% in 2001. Even if the production were backed up on the level of 100%, only one-third of the need in the Strategic nuclear force would be satisfied. What does it all mean?
Russia will become “one of the nuclear powers” by 2010-2012, like England, China, France nowadays. If the USA launches its nuclear attack, then Russia will be able to answer with solitary launches of its ballistic missiles. America’s National ABM system will face the conditions of a testing area, under which the system will be able to give good results. This was the ground for the possible nuclear attack of low capacity on the probable enemy, including Russia. In the nearest future Russia will not be able to oppose to such intentions, which may prove to become one of the means of the psychological pressure.
However, this kind of “psychology” can not leave China indifferent. China has nothing to do, but to deploy a nuclear group of its own during five or ten years, with not less than 1000 warheads. China can do that. Then it will be India’s turn, and then Pakistan’s, Israel’s – another arms race is on the way. The list may go on with Indonesia, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, but Russia does not seem to take the top position on the list.
Anatoly Baranov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov